[thelist] hits vs sessions

Katherine Spice k.spice at acu.ac.uk
Thu Dec 7 12:39:16 CST 2000

"Jason E. Burk" wrote:

> i love it when people start to say something useful and then leave it up to the
> rest of us to figure out exactly the statement means.  what gives?  more
> explanation please : )

each time a browser makes a http request to the webserver it generates a

the browser requests the page, and then for each element within the page
which is a separate url (images, linked .js or .css files etc) if makes
another request. 

so, 1 page, no images = 1 hit but
1 page, 21 images, 1 css file = 23 hits etc, etc.

therefore "hits" as a method to compare sites are meaningless - a text
only site could be twice as popular as an image library, but receive
only 20% of the image library's hits.  hits _are_ useful in comparing
the amount of traffic your site receives over a period of time
(providing you don't go thu' a major redesign :-).  

visitor sessions (generated by your log analyser) combine IP address,
referring page and time spent at the site to create a profile of a visit
(ie a single visitor who may have generated 100 + hits), to give you a
more accurate (but it's never 100%) idea of how many people view your
site each week/month/whatever.

FWIW, in november we got 673299 hits, which resolved to 21985 visits,
and the top two User Agents were split like so: 
55.13% Microsoft Internet Explorer (all flavours)
41.72% Netscape (all flavours)

and september was 984042 hits = 25671 visits, with
51.22% Netscape (all flavours)
46.42% Microsoft Internet Explorer (all flavours)


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